Glider 70

Thanks to Ian Murray and his website ( I have more information about my cousin Horace and his fate during the glider operation that led the invasion of Sicily during WWII.

Ian has posted an article that identifies which Glider Horace flew in, and even provides a few details of his last moments.

Reading Ian’s article gave me a goose-bump moment equalled only by the time I finally found Horace and Albert after a year of searching for the “Maurice” and “Alfred” my dad had spoken of.


location of airfield where Horace's Glider 70 started it's journey.

Location of El Djem (El Jem) airfield, Tunisia,  where Horace’s Glider 70 started it’s journey,

Horace was a passenger in Glider 70, one of the American  WACOs brought in to supplement the larger British Horsa that couldn’t be supplied in large enough numbers. The glider was towed from the El Djem airfield in Tunisia, destined for Sicily as part of Operation Ladbroke.

On approaching the destination, landing zone 2,  (LZ2), trying to avoid enemy flak,  the tow-plane turned away from the designated release zone and the glider was set loose too far from land and came down a few miles off shore.











Even though the glider floated, after exiting, some of the men couldn’t regain contact with it due to rough waters. Horace was one of those and he was heard calling for help before finally falling silent.

I suspect that Horace would not have been a strong swimmer. The only swimming pool in his local area would have been the same one I visited as a child 20 or so years later. Visits to the pool were rare and no one in my immediate family became proficient swimmers and I Imagine that in those earlier decades, Horace would have had fewer opportunities for learning to swim than I had.

In all one of Glider 70’s pilots and five others lost their lives, along with more than 250 from other gliders  who also drowned.






3 thoughts on “Glider 70

  1. Wow. That is some serious detail. I’m still amazed information is available. That’s heartening.

    I loved swimming as a kid. I almost took it for granted (except that I couldn’t get enough).

    Later, I found out pools aren’t always (even in summer) readily available. And some people aren’t comfortable in water. And some people not only aren’t at ease in water or, especially, deep water but might panic in a natural body of water. [I recently got a shower curtain that was in a design category for mermaids (but I liked it partly because it wasn’t actually a mermaid, it was a normal person). It’s a side setting showing totally clear and still water and fish under the water. I think it looks peaceful, with the person sitting on a large shell, but someone else said it looked like the person was in terror.] However, rough waters are another matter. I’ve never been in anything like rough waters that I recall. But I once had to save a few of my kids from a swift current.

  2. As a child in England, the nearest pool was about 4 miles away. The “complex” was in an old Victorian building with two different size pools. Until I was at High School in (age 12-13) visits were rare, but as part of school sports we were taken there weakly during summer for swimming lessons (I cheated).

    When I moved to Australia there were several Olympic sized pools nearby and also the beach, so my swimming improved a little, but not much.
    I got into difficulties at the beach once and had to signal for help. I swam a little too far out with a couple of friends (one a champion swimmer – the other wearing flippers) and I didn’t have the strength to get myself back to the beach. A fellow school student had drowned at the same beach only a few weeks before, so it was a scary situation.

    As for the details about Horace – I was amazed at how much the article contained. Far more than I ever hoped to find.

  3. I’ve noticed (would be hard to miss) the poppies on the lapels when I tune into the BBC over the last few days (or week, or however long it has been). And today is Veterans Day here in the U.S. (and Barak Obama’s last Veterans Day speech as President). Some of us have been in shock and mourning over the thought of the next person who will hold the office of Commander in Chief in our country. The memories, today, bring that home even more, with outright sobbing (and desperate prayer). I want to thank Horace and Albert for their service.

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